Unsecure

  • Govt, security agencies need to be vigilant to curb attacks on election candidates

Nov 16, 2017-At least five candidates have become the target of bomb attacks since last Friday. The latest attack was on CPN-UML leader Sher Dhan Rai in Bhojpur, on Tuesday. This incident prompted UML leader KP Oli to accuse the government of not providing enough security to candidates of the Left alliance. He has urged the government to get serious with security provisions. An attack on NC’s Kham Bahadur Garbuja in Beni, also on Tuesday, shows that all sides are affected. Given such occurrences, Oli is absolutely right in questioning the government about security provisions. 

The Home Ministry had finalised a comprehensive security plan for the upcoming elections a month ago. The ministry prepared the plan after incorporating suggestions from the Election Commission and other stakeholders, and concerned security bodies had been directed to make special arrangements for the security of top leaders who will be contesting the polls in the first-past-the-post (FPTP) category. According to officials then, the upcoming elections were supposed to have “comfortable” security, since almost all the parties except the Netra Bikram Chand-led Nepal Communist Party are participating in the elections. This obviously has not been the case.

In the attack on Rai, an unidentified group hurled an improvised explosive device (IED) at the vehicle of the former communications minister. The assailants also fired 21 rounds of bullets targeting Rai. He was on his way to an election campaign in Gogane. His bodyguard Dilli Sapkota sustained minor injuries in the incident. Earlier, CPN (Maoist Centre) leaders Barshaman Pun and Janardan Sharma were also targeted.  Although security agencies suspected cadres of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal behind the attacks on Maoist Centre leaders, Chand has denied any involvement.

Yesterday in Dhangadhi, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is also in charge of the Home Ministry, instructed officials to work towards successfully holding the upcoming polls. While the PM’s commitment to security has to be lauded—he has assured that the government is investigating the attacks—the security agencies need to do a better job of preventing such attacks.

Candidates need to be able to campaign freely in their constituencies, and people need to be allowed to express their democratic will without fear. Moreover, the elections this time are especially important as they will allow the people to vote in their representatives for the soon to be instituted provincial governments—a major step towards achieving a federal structure. The government needs to pressure security agencies to up their game, and security agencies need to be more vigilant to prevent such attacks before they occur.

Published: 16-11-2017 07:29

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